Study says water storage viability more expensive than originally thought - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Study says water storage viability more expensive than originally thought

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Yakima, WA -  A feasibility study suggests that water storage options like the Black Rock Reservoir or Wymer Dam probably won't hold water with the federal government.

The study basically says the water storage option is too expensive.                                                

For every dollar the federal government spends on a project like this.

It expects to make a dollar on the investment.

According to the study, the Black Rock Reservoir will only deliver a 16-cent return.                                    

Even less than engineers originally projected back in 2006. 
                                                                                                                                                          It's taken almost five years for the US Bureau of Reclamation to release the findings of its study into water storage options in the Yakima River Basin.

"We've basically found that the storage option is very expensive," says Kim McCartney study manager for the US Bureau of Reclamation.

For several years now, groups like the Yakima Basin Storage Alliance have been pushing for a four billion dollar proposal to build a reservoir in the black rock canyon near Yakima. 
                                                                                                                                                          But this new 800-page study says it's even less economically viable than originally thought.

A preliminary report back in '06 projected a 28-cent return on every dollar invested by the federal government.

Now that number is down to 16 cents.                                                 

"I wouldn't say it's dead, but the feds likely won't find it to be viable," says McCartney.

The same goes for the other two options on the table: the Wymer Dam, and that same dam along with the Yakima River Pump Exchange.

But those who support water storage are already saying the study isn't digging deep enough.

"Our job is to look at the national benefits.  How it affects the nation as a whole."

The Yakima Basin Storage Alliance just received the report this morning and group leaders are planning to discuss the findings in an executive committee meeting later this week.

Public Hearing Dates:

February 27th at Yakima Convention Center:  2pm - 4pm in the afternoon, 7pm - 9pm in the evening.

February 28th at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick: Same times as above.